Monday, June 3, 2019

What is "Virtue" in Cultivation?

There are two forms of Virtue: Virtue can mean "force" or "power", in the sense that 'virtue' relates to the word 'virility'. This power depends on one's ability to impose his force on the world.

In the most obvious sense, Virtue is the physical force that a person can impose on his surroundings. This includes his physical strength and health, but also things like his intellect and wit.

But these things are limited. Even in one's prime, there are limits to what a person's physical strength or vigor can accomplish. Even at the peak of one's intellect, there's limits to what one can manage to achieve through the mind.

And over time, these forces reach a peak and then ebb. Even someone who has made a great effort to develop physical strength, or speed, or endurance, will find that over a few years those things will weaken and fade, ravaged by time.  And even the sharpest mind will find that over a few decades, their intellect will weaken too, the mind will become less sharp, forgetfulness will increase and mental exhaustion will develop.

The second kind of Virtue is one's spiritual strength.  This is developed by accumulating Virtue through practice, and then applying that inner Virtue to emanate Virtue in the outer world. This force does not ebb, it only gains. It cannot be dulled by time or the ravages of age.

Inner Cultivation is not easy; it takes more work than building up the muscles or even sharpening the mind. But it is also a power that endures.